Removing restrictions on trading with China, especially on food products, would greatly benefit the Russian economy, the co-chair of the Russian-Chinese Committee of Friendship, Peace and Development said Wednesday.

“If China removes the barriers to food supplies, that would be a new oil for us,” Boris Titov told Sputnik.

Commenting on the potential for a proposed free trade zone within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Titov said duty-free trade would increase as part of a balanced, systematic long-term policy.

“There are more opportunities than risks for us if we open the border to China,” he underscored.

In previous interviews, Titov highlighted the market opportunities for Russian organic food and the wider agricultural sector in light of soil pollution, food safety concerns and the rapidly growing population in China.

Moscow and Beijing have grown closer over the past few years, with China boosting its imports of Russian liquefied natural gas, wines and timber, according to the trade ombudsman.